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Need to Know
There are no restroom services at Fagasa Pass, along the trail, or at the summit. There is also no place to get water, so make sure to bring enough water for the entire journey. Even though the trail is only 7 miles round trip, the heat and humidity can make this run more difficult, especially if you are not use to it. Even on sunny days, the trail and grass can be wet and slippery, so make sure you bring appropriate footwear and consider wearing pants to protect your legs from thorns and other plants that have seeds that like to catch a ride.
The sun is extreme, so make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and bring a hat and sunglasses. Everything will get wet, either from the run or you sweating, so plan appropriately if you are thinking about bringing any paper or wearing cotton.
The trail is slippery and rocky in areas, so caution is needed when traveling to the summit and when returning. There are areas where the grass is waist high, making it difficult to see where you are running, so if you choose to run on this trail, you need to proceed with caution.
The Mount 'Alava Trail departs from a small parking lot at Fagasa Pass and makes its way along the ridge line to the summit of Mount 'Alava where the old tram station remains are and some radio and tv infrastructure for the island. If you take the bus to Fagasa, have them drop you off at the pass and run up the hill through the gravel parking lot.
The trail curves up to the left and follows what appears to be an old road. It works its way around the hillside and climbs steadily. If you look off to your left, you get fleeting views of Fagasa and the Pacific Ocean. The trail is rocky in this section and slippery, even if it hasn't rained that day, so watch your step. Moving in and out of the shade, the trail climbs gently at first, and then really starts to climb between 3/4 of a mile and the 1 mile mark.
At 1 mile, the trail begins to level out and actually descends the ridge for about a mile. The trail remains double wide, but the grass and other plants grow into the trail. There are areas where the grass may be up to your waist with rocks underfoot, so watch where you are stepping. The trail follows the north side of the island, which offers you the unique opportunity to be away from a lot of manmade distractions. There are no sounds of cars or airplanes, which allow you to appreciate what is going on around you. You can hear birds signing and lizards scampering off to the side of the trail as you come through.
At 2.1 miles, the trail begins to climb again toward the summit. Around 2.7 miles, the canopy opens up some and you are at the mercy of the sun. While views to the right are blocked, every once in a while you get a view off to the left of the Pacific Ocean. If it is a clear day, you can see Western Samoa from the trail. As you approach the summit, views of the old tram station and tv/radio station towers come into view. You can see old cables used by the tram station sitting in or alongside the trail.
The last push to the top is a series of old stairs, some of which might be rusted so watch your step before putting your full weight on the step. When you get to the top, views of Pago Pago Harbor spread out below you and views of the Pacific Ocean surround you. You can explore a little bit at the top, but the best views are immediately when you get off the stairs. Enjoy the views before working your way back down to the parking lot via the same trail you just took.
Flora & Fauna
There are a wide variety of plants and animals on this run. There are flowering plants along all sections of the trail. Coconut palm trees can be found along the trail. Various types of ferns and other broad leaf plants can be seen. Hermit crabs can be seen, along with a wide variety of lizards scurrying across the path. If you listen and keep your eyes peeled, various types of birds can be identified all along the trail.
Shared By: David Hitchcock